"A Question of Climate," Audre Lorde


I learned to be honest
the way I learned to swim
dropped into the inevitable
my father’s thumbs in my hairless armpits
about to give way
I am trying
to surface      carefully
the water’s shadow-legged musk
cannons of salt     exploding
my nostrils’ rage
and for years
my powerful breast stroke
was a declaration of war.


I came to tell you, we’ll swim in the water, we’ll

swim like something sparkling underneath

the waves. Our bodies shivering, and the sound

of our breathing, and the shore so far away.

I’ll use my body like a ladder, climbing

to the thing behind it, saying farewell to flesh,

farewell to everything caught underfoot

and flattened

Richard Siken, from Saying Your Names  (via spokenwordacademy)